Pepe is reportedly set for a shock return to Real Madrid in the January transfer window on a free transfer, with the Portuguese out of contract.

If the report by Spanish outlet Don Balon is to be believed, Pepe could be set to make a shock return to Real Madrid this month. The Portuguese centre-back is currently a free agent after he agreed to have his contract with Besiktas terminated last month, and has offered a short-term return to the Bernabeu.

Pepe joined Besiktas from Real Madrid in the summer of 2017 after ending his decade-long association with Real Madrid. In the 18 months that he was at the Vodafone Park, the veteran defender amassed 52 appearances across all competitions, and was one of their most important players, even contributing to 10 goals (7 goals and 3 assists).

But, the 35-year-old agreed to have his contract rescinded just six months before it was scheduled to run out, with Besiktas’s financial problems said to be the reason behind his departure. Now, with the player free to join any club he so wishes, former employers Real Madrid have emerged as surprise suitors.

Set to don the famous white strip of Real Madrid again? (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

Set to don the famous white strip of Real Madrid again? (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

2018-19 has been a troublesome campaign for Real Madrid, who have struggled to emerge out of the shadows of former employees Zinedine Zidane and Cristiano Ronaldo. But, in addition to the problems in the final third, Los Blancos also have some genuine issues at the back, with the defence proving to be porous.

Add to it, the fact that Jesus Vallejo could be leaving on a half-season loan move away from the Bernabeu and it is evident Real Madrid could do with a short-term solution at the heart of the defence. Pepe is thus, a viable target for the UEFA Champions League holders.

The 35-year-old’s previous experience at the Bernabeu means he will unlikely take long to settle down, making him a formidable backup option for Santiago Solari, alongside Nacho. If required, the player can also reignite his solid partnership with Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos in the years gone by.

Pepe is willing to sign a short-term contract with an option of another year, in addition to also accepting lower wages than he was earning at Besiktas to facilitate his return to Real Madrid. And, the veteran defender’s intentions of returning to the Bernabeu is set to put paid to the efforts of Premier League side Wolverhampton Wanderers to sign him.

As short-term options go, Real Madrid are unlikely to find anyone better than Pepe, particularly if they send Jesus Vallejo out on loan to notch up some much needed first-team action. It now remains to be seen if the Portuguese international does return to his former club, or if he ends up moving elsewhere this month.